Mark Aselstine
 
January 23, 2014 | Mark Aselstine

Le Jade-Picpoul de Pinet

Picpoul de PinetHow’d We Get Here? Ok, so yes, it’s French.  I know, we typically feature only wines from America’s West Coast.  Every so often, we end up having a few discussions and even sampling some international wine, tough job we realize.  On even slimmer occasions, some of that wine, we think is important enough to include for our wine club members (if this is a major issue, just email us, we’ll send you a replacement, but we hope you’ll trust us and try this bottle once it is chilled). 

First, this is a Picpoul.  We think that’s important not only because it’s a great alternative to Chardonnay and especially Sauvignon Blanc, but also because it is one of the few grapes catching on in newer regions of France. 

The French, as you might expect, have some of the most strict wine growing and winemaking laws in the world.  You couldn’t grow this grape in Bordeaux, Burgundy or Champagne. Luckily for people who want affordable French wine, the Languedoc has avoided this type of labeling and rules thus far, allowing some vintners to actually experiment.  Think of Sonoma without Pinot Noir, or California wine without Paso Robles to see examples of why we think, as Californians at least, that experimentation can be helpful to the long term health of the wine industry.

Secondly, both the setup of the winery association and the region itself are important.  The Languedoc sits in the southwest corner of the country, along both the Mediterranean as well as the Spanish border.  It’s home to much of the innovation in French wine, but is also the only growing region to actively grow every grape type from Cabernet Sauvignon to Syrah and Chardonnay. The winery itself isn’t a winery as much, as a cooperative of growers.  It’s a unique set up for Americans to consider because the grapes and vineyards are under a sort of community control, but it’s an important one to recognize because it is both adept at creating a standard style of wine from vintage to vintage, but is also being copied by American growers and vintners in areas like Mendocino and Temecula among others in California.

Tasting Notes by Mark Aselstine: Plenty of grapefruit, citrus and honey.  Lighter bodied, crisp and low alcohol make this a nice wine when chilled and served with seafood, chicken or salads. A staple in our house as opposed to Sauvignon Blanc, my wife and I find this a refreshing alternative to other wines.

 

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